The method disclosed herein may be practiced by passing the vapors to be sampled along a path with halogen vapor, preferably chlorine vapor, heating the mixed vapors to halogenate those of the sampled vapors subject to halogenation, removing unreacted halogen vapor, and then sensing the vapors for organic halogenated compounds. The apparatus disclosed herein comprises means for flowing the vapors, both sample and halogen vapors, into a common path, means for heating the mixed vapors to effect the halogenation reaction, means for removing unreacted halogen vapor, and a sensing device for sensing halogenated compounds. By such a method and means, the vapors of low molecular weight hydrocarbons, ketones and alcohols, when present, such as methane, ethane, acetone, ethanol, and the like are converted, at least in part, to halogenated compounds, then the excess halogen removed or trapped, and the resultant vapors of the halogenated compounds sensed or detected. The system is highly sensitive. For example, acetone in a concentration of 30 parts per billion (volume) is readily detected.